Ae Marika! A column published in the Northland Age By Hone Harawira MP for Tai Tokerau MANA Leader
23 August 2011
To comment on this column please go to my website http://www.mana.net.nz
I called in to the Holy Sepulchre down in Auckland last week to pay my respects to Sir Paul Reeves, the type of person
you don't see too much these days ... a gentleman.
I first met Sir Paul when he was ordained Bishop of Auckland, and I was impressed by his humility and his genuine love
for people. He was a bishop who went on to become an archbishop and governor-general, but he was also a peace
campaigner, a humanitarian and a man who will be remembered for his stand against racism and social injustice.
I was asked to be part of the final service at the Holy Sepulchre before he was taken to the Cathedral, a role I was
privileged to play.
Following the service I took my leave to head down and join with the multitudes for the Maori King's Coronation
celebrations at Turangawaewae.
I attended Nga Kawe Mate o Te Motu on the Thursday and got the opportunity to take part in some of the korero on the
marae during the powhiri for the politicians on the Friday.
Tainui chairman Tukuroirangi Morgan spoke very well on behalf of the iwi leaders group. He told the Prime Minister that
they had given their full support to the call for Kohanga Reo to remain independent of ministry control, but then seemed
to switch sides by saying how the iwi leaders also supported the idea that Maori language funding (including that for
Kohanga Reo) should go under one ministry.
He then reminded the PM that the Maori contribution to the national economy was now worth more than $37 billion, and
that Maori wanted to be seriously considered as a player when it came time to taking up some of the shares in the State
Owned Enterprises that were likely to go on the open market after the November election.
When I spoke, I supported the call for a Maori Parliament which had been raised by other speakers the previous day.
I also congratulated Maori corporates for how well they had done, but pointed out that while we were all sitting around
patting ourselves on the back 60,000 of our children were living in poverty ... and suggested that maybe it was time we
turned our corporate bus around and went back to get all the kids.
I know that eliminating poverty is essentially the responsibility of government, but I also know that if iwi simply ape
the development of pakeha corporates, Maori families will suffer the same fate they have suffered over the past 25
I also believe that in signing off on "full and final" treaty settlements, iwi leaders take on not just a role in tribal
economic development, but also a role in providing the long-term social and moral leadership required to ensure all
members of the tribe benefit from settlements, particularly those most in need.
I think we have some excellent people holding down iwi leadership positions in the north, and I am keen to work with any
of them to help address some of the social concerns affecting our people. I might just start making a few calls ...